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Mayo Clinic plans second Express Care Clinic

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALBERT LEA, Minn. The Mayo Clinic is wading slowly into the convenient care industry with the expected opening early next year of its second health clinic.

According to a Mayo spokesman, it is planning to open during the first quarter a Mayo Express Care clinic at a strip mall in Rochester, Minn. It is part of a plan to open additional clinics across Mayo Health System, Mayo’s network of clinics and hospitals in communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The first such clinic, known as ALMC Express Care, opened in December 2006 in a mall in Albert Lea.

Similar to retail-based clinics like MinuteClinic and Take Care, the Mayo-affiliated clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The clinics treat about 25 conditions such as pink eye, sinus infections and strep throat. Prices range between about $49 and $59.

However, one difference is that the Mayo-affiliated clinics will likely not be embedded within retailers such as pharmacy chains or grocery outlets. As the concept expands, the clinics are likely to be situated in retail settings like strip malls.

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A&P acquires wine retailer, hires co-founder

BY Antoinette Alexander

MONTVALE, N.J. Grocer A&P has acquired New York City-based retailer Best Cellars and brought on board as senior director of beer, wine and spirits Best Cellars co-founder Joshua Wesson.

Best Cellars is known for merchandising “Great Wines for Everyday” by flavor rather than by origin, and at reasonable prices. It operated the Best Cellars concept in five retail locations.

“This is an outstanding strategic fit with our ongoing Fresh food marketing evolution,” stated Rebecca Philbert, A&P senior vice president of merchandising, supply and logistics. “Joshua Wesson’s creativity and expertise will be instrumental in elevating the look, feel, quality and value of our beer, wine and spirits offerings, in a way that parallels and interacts with our new Fresh store concept.”

The first example of A&P’s new prototype beer, wine and spirits concept is expected to debut in January in Westwood, N.J.

Under the terms of the transaction, the purchase price, which is not expected to be material, will be based upon the growth of A&P’s beer, wine and spirits business going forward, to be calculated and paid after four years.

A&P currently operates 19 freestanding wine and liquor stores, as well as 12 in-store departments across its retail operations in the greater New York/New Jersey, Connecticut and mid-Atlantic markets.

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WellPoint, Rite Aid collaborate to inform Medicare beneficiaries on enrollment

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. WellPoint and Rite Aid Thursday morning announced a collaborative effort to make health care information more accessible to seniors and other Medicare eligible individuals during the Medicare open enrollment period.

The alliance, which will encompass more than 5,100 Rite Aid pharmacy stores nationwide in 31 states and the District of Columbia, reflects the commitment of both companies to provide Medicare beneficiaries with clear, comprehensive materials to help them make the best health coverage choices for themselves and their families.

Through this alliance, printed materials will be available at Rite Aid stores nationwide to help inform seniors about WellPoint’s Medicare Part D plans. During the Annual Election Period, also known as open enrollment, agents from WellPoint affiliated companies will be on location at specific stores on certain days to answer questions and explain benefit options. The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries begins Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 31.

“We understand that making health benefits choices can be complex and confusing,” stated Susan Rawlings, president of WellPoint’s Senior Business. “This alliance with Rite Aid allows us to reach out to seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries in a way that is convenient for them to help them find the best plan to meet their health needs and enable them to live the most fulfilling lives possible.”

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